Posted by TenantNet on January 07, 1997 at 12:36:57:
In Reply to: Pending Eviction posted by Jenny on January 07, 1997 at 09:03:10:
: I wrote to you back in December. At the time, the landlord of the
building I live in had started proceedings against the person who has
the lease to my apartment. Basically because they were in violation
of their lease by having me there. At the time, they also alluded that
the tenant was not using the place as their primary residence but they
did not know where they were. The landlord refuses to speak to me but
is willing to update me on the pending court date - which still has not
been set. Last week I was told that the paperwork was being redone.
They have started process over again and now cite a alternate address
for the tenant. It has given me some breathing room while I'm
investigating new apartments. However, my question is -- does this new
development mean any new problems for me as an illegal subletter?
I don't remember the details of your case and I'm assuming you're in NYC.
Normally to remove a roommate, one brings a licensee proceeding, but
your situation appears to be different. If YOU don't know where the primary
tenant is, you may be in an "illusory tenancy" situation, sometimes
created by the landlord. Who did you rent from -- the landlord or this
now missing tenant? Do you know where the tenant is? If so, you should
advise the tenant that trouble is brewing and ascertain if the tenant
intends to return. You can always try to negotiate with the landlord
about taking over the lease.
Otherwise, as a sublettor ("illegal" is an elusive term and just because
the landlord may say you are illegal does not always make it so; I may have
used it to distinguish from a subletting done with permission), I would think
they must also serve you, and make you a party to any court proceedings.
The papers should refer to you by name and any other John/Jane Doe. If
it has the potential of removing you as an occupant, you have a right to
be in on the case. I would ask the owner for copies of the court petition,
I would also go down to housing court and look it up on their computer. I
also seem to remember that even if the prime tenant no longer lives there,
they must serve the tenant at that address -- meaning you would get a copy
of the court petition.
If you want, you can appear at the next hearing date and see if you can
talk to the judge or clerk about this. But don't put too much faith in the
judges or clerks. You may also want to consult with an attorney. Whether
or not you may have rights as a sublettor or whatever your status is, you
are an interested party. Remember, the landlord is not on your side in
this. If the landlord has brought a non-primary residence case against the
primary tenant, even if he wins, it's possible he still may have to bring
a separate case against you as you are in occupancy (but check this last
statement out with an attorney).
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